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Marsden's win a blow for Herrity

Amy Gardner

Timing is everything. And Fairfax County Supervisor Pat S. Herrity seems to have picked the wrong day to announce that he is seeking the Republican nomination to challenge U.S. Rep. Gerald E. Connolly.

Herrity was probably thinking how perfect it would be to crow about Republican Steve Hunt's victory over David Marsden in Tuesday's special election to fill Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's old state Senate seat in western Fairfax County.

He was probably also thinking that he'd be able to talk about his own contributions to the victory and point to the fine Republican margins in the precincts that overlap his own Springfield district, the 37th Senate District and the 11th Congressional District.

Whoops.

Not only did Hunt lose, but he lost the vote in the area of the 37th that overlaps with both Springfield and Connolly's 11th Congressional District -- an area where Herrity would need to perform strongly in a congressional race.

Herrity's timing was curious regardless of Tuesday's outcome. If Hunt had won, wouldn't Herrity have had to share the limelight with him today? And didn't the General Assembly open its 2010 legislative session little more than an hour ago? And doesn't outgoing Gov. Timothy M. Kaine deliver his final state of the commonwealth address tonight? And isn't incoming Governor-elect Robert F. McDonnell food-banking and ballroom-dancing across the state this week in the lead-up to his inauguration on Saturday -- including a stop in Northern Virginia tomorrow?

Herrity's misfortune may be Connolly's gain. The freshman congressman and former chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors lent Marsden a strong hand in the race (Marsden called him his "friend and mentor" at his victory celebration Tuesday), giving Connolly's own operation an organizational boost at an opportune moment.

Connolly also had a hand in helping Marsden craft his message, which boiled down to urging voters not to let Republicans block President Obama's agenda. It was a rallying cry for the Democratic base, and it worked. Marsden even won the absentee ballots (by a two-to-one margin), where Republicans historically have held an advantage, particularly in special elections. Expect to see more of that message -- from Connolly's own re-election campaign -- in the months ahead.

In the meantime, let's not forget about Republican Keith Fimian, who lost to Connolly in 2008 and has been in this race for months. Fimian is wealthy and self-funding, and he's already got the support of House Minority Whip Eric I. Cantor (R) from the Richmond suburbs. In a mass email, Fimian welcomed Herrity to the primary today after Herrity's announcement.

By Amy Gardner  |  January 13, 2010; 1:20 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races , Election 2010 , Gerald E. Connolly  
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Next: Watch Tim Kaine's last speech as Virginia governor

Comments

This is pretty absymal analysis. In either June or November, the SD-37 special election will barely even be a footnote in terms of influence on the Congressional campaign. To call it a "blow" to the campaign is stunningly off the mark.

Posted by: VABlogger | January 13, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

The People's Republic of Fairfax strikes again..

Posted by: wewintheylose | January 13, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Here goes Amy Gardner again.....beating the drums for Connolly and trying to pull out a story. Steve Hunt had a great showing....just not enough voters. Maybe Hunt should rent a room and run for Delegate.

Posted by: unhappyvoter | January 13, 2010 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Amy, did Gerry Connolly send this piece to you to publish?

Posted by: blogpostname | January 13, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Amy Gardner has written a very lop sided piece. I am surprised The Washington Post would publish it. It is actually demeaning toward the political community and the voters and it is also offensive to any thinking citizen. The writer uses such a smug know-it-all tone that it grates on the nerves. There is really no message to be extrapolated from this election because many people were unaware of it. And, there should be no imprication that Obama's agenda is a done deal. Keep watching, Amy, things are turning now in our country and your cutting remarks will not stop the change-out that is about to sweep our precious nation.

Posted by: carolmwright | January 14, 2010 7:51 PM | Report abuse

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